Assembling Community Policing: Peacekeeping and the Ghana Police Service’s Transformation Agenda

  • Peter Albrecht Danish Institute for International Studies
Keywords: UN peacekeeping, assemblage theory, community policing, Ghana


This article shows how peacekeeping experiences manifest in the Ghana Police Service’s (GPS) community policing strategies and practices in often inconspicuous and individualized ways. Peacekeeping constitutes an important element of what the article refers to as the community policing assemblage. However, the article emphasises that the shape of the community policing assemblage is conditioned by a wide range of discourses and practices beyond peacekeeping. Global and national policies and strategies relating to policing, including the GPS’s own transformation agenda, local and individual interpretations and translations of peacekeeping experiences and what community policing means, all play into how the assemblage is formed. Thus, the article disentangles the effects of peacekeeping and puts it in the context of broader policing in Ghana, based on in-depth interviews and observations with police officers, mainly from the GPS’s community policing headquarters in Tesano, Accra. It concludes that while several studies have shown how peacekeeping has shaped Ghana’s security institutions and sense of role in the world, it has not been able to chip away at or counteract the deep and deepening control that security institutions in the country are subjected to by politicians. Arguing that the peacekeeping experience may have a profound transformative effect on individual police officers, yet little if any impact in terms of depoliticising the GPS and policing more broadly, is a less sweeping conclusion. However, suggesting that the effects of peacekeeping often are local and individualized, at times deeply embodied experiences, is also a more accurate conclusion empirically.